In elementary school, or even middle school, there is no real academic lag, and there is no absolute academic excellence; everything is reversible. The magical force that turns things around is: reading outside the classroom.
There is a "magic wand", and it is indeed magical. Once a child is hit by it, he or she becomes smarter and has more potential in learning and talent. What this "magic wand" is, and who is lucky enough to be touched by it, is something that many of you will want to know - pardon the pun, I'm not talking about a fairy tale, I'm making a realistic analogy, because I can't think of a more apt one.
Let me go a little farther and start with a true story of four children.
I had a longer contact with a class of fifth graders in an elementary school and was familiar with the students in this class. There were four children in the class, and I could not help but mentally divide them into two groups and put them together for comparison.
The first two children, a girl named Xiao Fei and a boy named Xiao Zhuang, these two children are studying hard, test scores in the upper middle class, character neither flamboyant nor introverted, no trouble in class and no trouble in class, in the class belongs to the kind of people who are both liked and easily forgotten by the teacher.
The other group is two boys, one named Bo and one named Cheng. Bo is an excellent student, excellent in all subjects, strong work ability, but also particularly thoughtful and insightful, he is one of the few I have seen almost impossible to find flaws in the kind of children; into the little boy's strengths and weaknesses are obvious, always do not complete their homework properly, medium grades, but very eloquent, always behaving lazily, but not disruptive discipline.
These four children were brought to my attention and contrasted from their essays. The first two children, Xiao Fei and Xiao Zhuang, whose essays I had read, were not spacious but neatly written, but their writing was poor, with many grammatical errors and many misspelled words, which was a clear difference from their usually good test scores. They were asked to correct each essay, and they were serious about it, copying it over and over again, but when they compared the fourth draft with the first one, they could only see traces of changes, not progress; when they turned to the next one, the level remained the same. When I looked through their other workbooks, I could clearly feel the effort of these two children and their inability to learn.
I could basically tell where they were going wrong.
I talked to these two children. The common question I asked them was: Do you read a lot of extracurricular books? Xiao Fei was very uncomfortable when I asked her this question and told me that she wanted to read, but her father did not allow it and locked up all the books she might read at home for fear that it would interfere with her studies. Her family has a subscription to the newspaper complimentary "Reader", she likes this magazine, but every issue comes, her parents find a way to hide not to let her read. Xiao Zhuang said he did not like to read extracurricular books, except for a few comic books, never read any other books.
I thought it was a pity that these two children were so obedient and willing to work hard, they should have done better in their studies. So I had a talk with their parents, hoping that they would pay attention to their children's extracurricular reading and solve the problem of their children's learning difficulties from extracurricular reading.
Xiao Fei's father said that his child was studying so hard every day, but his grades were only in the upper middle class, so what if he was distracted by extracurricular reading and fell into the middle class? Xiao Zhuang's mother thinks that letting Xiao Zhuang read is adding another burden to the child's study. Xiao Zhuang attends six extracurricular classes and one musical instrument class a week, and never takes a break from Monday to Sunday. So his mother said that she absolutely could not add to his burden.
I told them that these two children are now in elementary school, and it doesn't matter how high or low their scores are on each test, their current problem is that they are not strong learners, and that's the really big problem, which will seriously affect their future learning. By not taking so many extracurricular classes, by not forcing test scores, and by letting them have a lot of extracurricular reading, the child will be able to fundamentally reduce his study load, his study ability will improve, and he will be able to have really good grades in the future.
I tried to make the problem as clear as possible, and they all expressed agreement with my suggestion at that time. But then I got to know the children again, and nothing had changed. Xiaofei's father thought it was because the family subscribed to the newspaper to invite the Reader, which led to the child's uneasy study, and changed the gift of subscribing to the newspaper to milk. Xiao Zhuang has no desire to study, and his mother does not intend to let him have this desire, but only intends to enroll the child in a taekwondo class, the reason is that children study all day long, the amount of activity is low, the class can exercise and learn self-defense, two birds with one stone, I do not know where she can squeeze this time for Xiao Zhuang again. I also learned that one of the several extracurricular classes Xiao Zhuang attended was a composition class.
In contrast to Xiao Fei and Xiao Zhuang, both Bo and Cheng's essays are exceptionally well written, with hardly a single typo or sick sentence in the entire text. Although Bo's writing is neat and tidy, and there are always unique perspectives and materials in his essays, Cheng's writing is not good, and there are outlines in his essays from time to time, which are not neat, and the level of his essays varies significantly.
I also talked to the two children individually and learned that they both enjoyed reading books outside of school. Bo's family has a large collection of books, and he reads a lot, mainly Chinese and foreign masterpieces, history and nature, which far exceeds the reading volume of his peers; Cheng's parents are usually away from home on business, and he lives with his grandparents, who do not have a computer at home, and the TV is basically not turned on, so he has nothing to do but to buy a lot of books to read. Cheng read a lot of books, animals, science fiction, detective, martial arts, etc., caught what to read.
These two children are not only good at writing essays, they can easily cope with all aspects. Bo is a good student but not a little pedant, he likes soccer, spend a lot of time playing soccer; into although the usual grades are not very good, but in the words of his class teacher, this child, smart it, now this grade is to learn with eyes closed, he just need to learn well for three days, you can test the top three in the class.
When I left the class, I gave the kids my email address and I still keep in touch with a few of them. They are now in their junior year and will soon take their midterm exams. Bo has not written to me, but his mother has kept in touch with me, and we have never met and have exchanged some questions about children's education through the Internet. Bo attends a major city school and according to his mother is still doing well and based on his academic performance and soccer level, he has been confirmed to be guaranteed a place in one of the best city middle schools for high school. Xiao Fei has been in contact with me, she attended a normal middle school in junior high school, the teachers and other aspects are not very good. I heard her say that Xiao Zhuang and Cheng are also in this school, she and Xiao Zhuang's learning now can only be maintained in the middle, certainly not a good high school; but into the junior high school after anxious, know how to study, now is the top of the grade students, but also assessed the three good students. Xiaofei also said that she is not wanting to study more and more, and thinks it is too difficult to study.
The developmental trends of several children in their studies have generally come to light.
Xiao Fei's and Xiao Zhuang's parents must be disappointed with their children, they have done so much for them, but their children's grades are not satisfactory. In the future, their learning status will be mediocre and difficult.
Bo and Cheng, on the other hand, their learning ability has been steadily generated, and they will have more initiative and ability to grasp in their future learning life.
At this point in the story of the four children, the point I want to make is clear.
What is the "magic wand"? It is reading outside the classroom. It has a magical power that gives children different energies without revealing them - children who have read a lot outside of school since childhood will have a better intellectual state and learning ability; children who lack reading will generally show a mediocre learning ability; even the speed of writing homework, they are generally much slower than those who read more .
Why does reading have such a great impact on a child's intelligence and learning?
The educator Sukhomlinsky, who has done a lot of research on adolescent reading, elaborated much and clearly on the relationship between reading and learning ability.
He said, "Thirty years of experience have convinced me that the intellectual development of students depends on good reading skills." He analyzes from a psychological point of view that "the lack of reading ability will hinder and inhibit the plasticity of the extremely fine connecting fibers of the brain, so that they do not smoothly ensure the connections between neurons. Who is not good at reading, he is not good at thinking." (1) He points out the disadvantages of lack of reading, "Why is it that some students who are bright, understanding and diligent in their childhood become less intelligent, lukewarm to knowledge and inflexible in their adolescence? It's because they can't read!" In contrast, "some students don't put much effort into their homework, but their academic performance is not bad. The reason for this phenomenon is not entirely because these students are overly talented. It is often because they have good reading skills. And good reading ability in turn promotes the development of intellectual talent." (2) "Students who do not read anything but textbooks acquire very superficial knowledge in the classroom and shift the entire burden to homework. Because of the heavy homework burden, they have no time to read science books and journals, thus creating a vicious circle." (3)
This has been much studied and confirmed by modern psychology. Combing the learning theories of psychological figures such as Piaget, Bruner and Ausubel, we can see two key points: one is that the development of thinking is closely related to the development of the language system, and the other is that learning new knowledge depends on the existing intellectual background. "Reading" is an activity that uses linguistic symbols as a medium and contains rich content that transcends real life. This allows the reader's "linguistic system" to develop better, and at the same time allows him or her to have a richer "intellectual background", which makes them more capable of thinking and learning new things.
To make an analogy: the construction of learning ability is like building a house, the "language system" is equivalent to the tools, and the "intellectual background" is equivalent to the engineering background (foundation exploration level, engineering design level, workers' technical level, construction management level, and other intangible but important (content). With good tools and perfect engineering background, the whole process of building a house is a relatively easy thing, and can also ensure quality; if the tools and background are poor, the quality of construction can be imagined.
Children in elementary school, and even in the early grades of middle school, can get good grades just by being smart, but without a reading background, the higher the grade level, the more incompetent they will become. This is just as simple construction projects require few tools and background conditions, while the more ambitious and exquisite the project, the more tools and background conditions are required.
I have met several very distressed parents whose children were doing well in school and studying hard, but disturbingly, their children were becoming less and less effective in their studies. Whenever this happens, I always ask about the child's extracurricular reading from childhood to adulthood. Not surprisingly, these children were largely lacking in extracurricular reading. In contrast, other children, who may not have had great grades as a child, manage to come up later in life because they have better reading outside of class, and by the time they really want to learn, the potential is unstoppable.
In elementary school, and even middle school, there is no real academic lag, and there is no absolute academic excellence; everything is reversible. The magic force that turns things around is reading outside the classroom. It really is like a magic wand that is showing more and more magic.
It is easy to see the appearance of change in children: some children are becoming more and more interested in learning and getting better grades, so they feel relieved that they are growing up and understanding; other children are becoming less and less interested in learning and getting worse grades, so they feel that they are becoming more and more unaware and unconscious. Rarely do people see a very important technical reason behind this appearance, which is reading outside the classroom.
The truth is that every child is getting more and more knowledgeable. The difference is that the child who reads more is a strong learner, and when he consciously takes the initiative to learn, his rich linguistic and intellectual background comes to his aid, and his better learning ability makes him feel a sense of accomplishment if he tries, and this sense of accomplishment in turn motivates him to be more active and positive; while the child who reads less, his pale linguistic and intellectual background makes him a weak learner, and in the face of increasingly difficult knowledge and The more frustrated he is, the less confident he is and the less interested he is in learning. People cannot rely on perseverance and rationality for a long time, and they soon show a decline all the way down and start to avoid learning intentionally or unintentionally - this may be what parents feel that their children are "getting older and more ignorant and less interested in learning".
Parents are doing everything they can to make their children smart and learn well, and are busy eating this and that from the time they are pregnant. Nutrition is certainly useful for children's brain development, but no matter how much good stuff you eat, it is only an additive tool. Except for a very few overachievers, all children who are born healthy and normal end up with differences in intelligence not in such physical means or physiological factors, but in their initiation. The most important means of intellectual enlightenment is reading, which is a multiplicative tool that allows children's intelligence to increase in geometric progressions.
Some teachers and parents do not pay attention to children's extracurricular reading because they always worry that their children are already very busy just completing the school curriculum, and it is most important to get good grades in exams, so reading extracurricular books is not cost-effective as it wastes time and affects learning. This argument is equivalent to saying, "I'm in a hurry to go from Harbin to Guangzhou for a meeting, where I have time to wait for the plane in four hours, the train will leave soon, I have to hurry to squeeze the train - it seems to be so, but in fact it's all wrong.
A handful of the same seeds, sprinkled into the ground, some get the right moisture and sufficient sunshine, and some are both dry and sunless, the final difference will of course be very big. Reading is the moisture and sunshine of wisdom.
I suspect there will be a question raised, does it mean that people who read a lot must be good at learning and those who don't must be bad? Of course not. When we think about a problem or express a phenomenon, we cannot make it absolute.
If all "laws" in cultural or social contexts needed to be 100% accurate like the laws of mathematics to be validated, then all social laws would not exist and all dialogue would be impossible. The world is so complex that everything is inextricably linked to everything else, so you can't look at any one phenomenon in isolation. For example, the conclusion that "drinking tea can effectively prevent cancer" is not in conflict with the phenomenon that "people who love tea can also get cancer" because there are many causes of cancer, and it makes no sense to use the latter to negate the former.
I dare not say that children who love to read must learn well, but I can say for sure that children who never read extracurricular books or rarely read extracurricular books must not learn well; a group of children who love to read extracurricular books compared with a group of children who do not love to read extracurricular books, their learning differences must be very obvious.
There is a phenomenon called "bias" among elementary and middle school students that seems to challenge the relationship between reading and learning ability discussed here. Some boys, in particular, prefer mathematics and chemistry and are not interested in arts subjects such as language and English, and rarely read, but always do well in mathematics and science subjects.
I met a parent of a junior high school student who was even slightly complacent that her child did well in math and physics and was particularly uninterested in languages, probably because she thought it meant her child was smart. I think if her child just doesn't like language classes per se, but has read a lot of books outside of class, she can be proud that her child still has a lot of potential; but if her child has been lacking in reading and is bored with language classes based on her low language skills, that's a more problematic thing, and I'm afraid that one day the math and science subjects will be dragged down.
I know a math teacher at a major city high school who scored a perfect score in math on the college entrance exam, but only a 92 in language. He originally loved mathematics, aspiring to be a mathematician, applied to the mathematics department of Peking University, the total score is not enough, and finally only accepted by an ordinary teacher training college mathematics department.
He said, from my years of teaching, only deeply feel the importance of language. Our school's top ten students in the college entrance exam every year, few of them are biased, basically are good at both literature and science. He said he was very unconvinced that he did not get into the mathematics department of Peking University, but now he thinks that even if he did, the lack of language background will affect professional learning, because the width and breadth of his own thinking is always very limited compared to those who have read a lot of books.
So, even if your child is a special math genius, you should pay attention to his reading. For example, let him read a few biographies of mathematicians, which may be a better way to fulfill his mathematical genius than letting him solve two more problem sets.
Of course, there are also biased towards the language, the language is very good, essay writing is beautiful, mathematics and chemistry is very poor. For example, the teenage writer Han Han. Reading does not seem to complete their test scores.
The problem has to be understood in this way: there are many reasons for his dislike of mathematical and scientific subjects; teachers, family, talent, classmates, etc. may all be influencing factors. Reading is certainly not powerful enough to solve all the problems and remedy all the deficiencies. But one thing is for sure, his poor performance in math is in no way caused by reading. Such children, who fortunately enjoy reading, are intelligent and can achieve accordingly, whether they go to college or not. In this way, reading is still a lucky thing for them.
Students who never or rarely read outside the classroom, who do poorly in mathematics and science, and who are only relatively good in the humanities, are not "off", but in fact are not very good in the humanities either. Who can see someone who barely reads extracurricular books excelling in literature and history exams? There is a big difference between these kids and the likes of Han Han.
So, reading is important from either perspective. So it seems how easy it is to make a kid smarter, let him go read a lot! Books are a magic wand that will give a child a kind of magic in learning that will advance his intelligence. A child who loves to read is a child who has been hit by the magic wand, how lucky he is!
What is the "magic wand"? Children who have read a lot outside of class since they were young are in a better state of intelligence and learning ability; children who lack reading generally show mediocre learning ability; even in writing homework, they are generally much slower than their classmates who read a lot.
● Students who do not read anything but textbooks acquire very superficial knowledge in the classroom and shift the entire burden to homework. With a heavy homework load, they don't have time to read science books and journals, which creates a vicious cycle.
Children can get good grades in elementary school, and even in the early grades of middle school, just by being smart, but without reading, the higher the grade level, the more incompetent they become.
Nutrition is certainly useful for children's brain development, but no matter how much good stuff they eat, it is only an additive means. With the exception of a very few overachievers, all children who are born healthy and normal end up with differences in intelligence not in such physical means or physiological factors, but in their enlightenment. The most important means of intellectual enlightenment is reading, which is a multiplicative tool that allows children's intelligence to increase in geometric increments.
The difference in learning between a group of children who love to read extracurricular books compared to a group of children who do not must be very obvious.
3．Children who are hit by the magic wand have a strong learning ability-Woodmam
In elementary school, or even middle school, there is no real academic lag, and there is no absolute academic excellence; everything is reversible. The magical force that turns things around is: reading outside the classroom.